Not Your Typical Dragon

( 2 )


Everybody knows your typical dragon breathes fire.

But when Crispin tries to breathe fire on his seventh birthday, fire doesn't come out—only whipped cream! Each time Crispin tries to breathe fire, he ends up with



teddy bears?

Crispin wonders if he’ll ever find his inner fire. But ...

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Everybody knows your typical dragon breathes fire.

But when Crispin tries to breathe fire on his seventh birthday, fire doesn't come out—only whipped cream! Each time Crispin tries to breathe fire, he ends up with



teddy bears?

Crispin wonders if he’ll ever find his inner fire. But when a family emergency breaks out, it takes a little dragon with not-so-typical abilities to save the day.

With wry humor and whimsical illustrations, Not Your Typical Dragon is the perfect story for any child who can't help feeling a little bit different.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A young dragon who doesn’t fit the mold still finds a way to save the day in this comically offbeat story about embracing individuality. Crispin Blaze can’t wait to set alight the candles on his seventh birthday cake at the exact moment he’s supposed to start breathing fire. When the moment of truth arrives, however, a torrent of whipped cream bursts from Crispin’s mouth, much to the delight of his younger sister. Crispin’s concerned parents take him to the doctor, but nothing helps, and Crispin runs away and finds a kindred spirit in a timid knight, who tries to coach the dragon. Readers will quickly realize that Crispin has a knack for breathing exactly what a situation calls for, whether it’s bandages at the doctor’s office, beach balls at the shore, or water when Crispin’s father’s fire-breathing gets out of control. Bowers’s (Dream Big, Little Pig!) colorful bug-eyed dragons and Middle-Ages-meets-the-suburbs setting amplify the humor in Bar-el’s (That One Spooky Night) prose, both of which make the message about embracing one’s talents go down easy. Ages 3–up. Illustrator’s agent: East West Literary Agency. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
Dragons and fire go together like peanut butter and jelly, fingers and gloves, trains and whistles—Or do they? Crispin Blaze reaches his seventh birthday, the milestone that is supposed to mark the onset of fire-making ability. But regardless of his fire-breathing ancestors and in spite of the beautiful-if-lopsided cake his mother presents, Crispin just does not seem to be able to do it. Although he feels a "tingling inside his tummy" that he expects will result in fire, that's not what comes out when he opens his mouth. Rather, it is a gush of whipped cream (to his younger sister's delight). Nor does fire come out at the doctor's office the next day. There, it is a flurry of band-aids (to the nurse's joy). In spite of the prescribed medicine, the after fire-breathing club does not get to see flames from Crispin. No, there he produces marshmallows (to his classmates' excitement). Deciding he cannot return home, Crispin takes to a cave. Immediately, a knight arrives. As Crispin is not a typical dragon, Sir George is not a typical knight. He is timid and relies on a book for guidance. He is, however, willing to help Crispin solve his problem—so they can fight and both return home heroes—but there does not seem to be any solution that will result in fire-breathing for Crispin. Finally, he asks the knight to help him get home. There, Crispin's knack for not fire-breathing saves the day, and garners a bit of acceptance for them both. This is a feel-good book that children will ask for again and again. This is a good selection for home, school, and public libraries. Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—This tale breathes a whiff of didacticism into its sweet rumination on being different. On his seventh birthday, Crispin Blaze is supposed to breathe fire for the first time, but whipped cream comes out of the little dragon's mouth instead. At the doctor's office, Band-Aids emerge, and whenever Crispin tries to breathe fire, he fails. Afraid of disappointing his family, he runs away and he is befriended by a knight charged with fighting a fire-breathing dragon. When Crispin becomes homesick, the two are welcomed back by the youngster's parents, and Crispin soon gets an opportunity to save the day and be accepted. The humorous text moves along smoothly; expect kids to chime in with the line "but fire did not come out." Bowers's bug-eyed characters are appealing, expressive, and never scary, and the mix of spot art, single-page pictures, and spreads moves the story along effectively. The text emphasizes the positives of being unique, and the use of a dragon breathing a variety of odd and humorous things leavens the message. Not an essential purchase, but a pleasant addition.—Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
Kirkus Reviews
Accepting people for who they are is the gentle message of Bar-el's latest, which readers may find reminiscent, if not duplicative, of the film How to Train Your Dragon. Crispin Blaze, scion of a long line of fire-breathing dragons, is on the cusp of his seventh birthday, when he will finally come into his fiery powers. But when asked to light his birthday candles, he breathes whipped cream instead. While his younger sister is pleased, his parents are not--they want him fixed. At the doctor's, he breathes Band-Aids; at fire-breathing practice, marshmallows (to go with all the flaming logs his friends have lit). Discouraged and unaccepted, Crispin runs away to a cave, where he meets a young knight who understands his plight and tries to help. But spicy foods fail to ignite Crispin's fire, as do thinking mean thoughts and relaxation techniques. Homesick by nightfall, Crispin is escorted back to his parents by Sir George--at which point, a showdown between their fathers might have had a very unhappy ending but for Crispin's splendid talent of breathing exactly what is needed. Bowers' acrylic dragons are delightfully nonscary, and readers will be able to tell their thoughts and feelings with ease; Crispin's dejected slouch as he runs away from home, toting a heavy suitcase, says it all, as do his befuddled expressions at his nonstandard eruptions. Share this with your favorite atypical kids. (Picture book. 3-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670014026
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 2/7/2013
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 146,745
  • Age range: 3 - 5 Years
  • Lexile: AD460L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.32 (w) x 10.08 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

Dan Bar-el is an award-winning children's author, educator and storyteller. His writing includes both chapter books and picture books, all of which are highly flammable. If you are reading this book with a dragon, he asks you to please use caution. When not writing or putting out fires, Dan travels about, visiting many schools and libraries. He lives in Vancouver, BC with his wife, artist and goldsmith, Dominique Bréchault (who happens to own a blowtorch!).

Tim Bowers has illustrated over thirty books, including the New York Times best seller, Dream Big, Little Pig by Kristi Yamaguchi. His books have received numerous state and national awards and have been chosen as Junior Library Guild selections. His artwork has been exhibited in the Society of Illustrators Annual Art Exhibition in New York and Los Angeles and the prestigious Original Art Exhibition, celebrating the fine art of children's book illustration. Although Mr. Bowers was born into a proud family of hairdressers (his mother was a hairdresser, his grandmother was a hairdresser and his great-grandfather was a barber) he opted to become an illustrator. Now, without hair, Bowers continues to enjoy telling stories with pictures, which is not your typical Bowers.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2013

    I bought this book for my son who was dealing with kids who were

    I bought this book for my son who was dealing with kids who were picking on him because he was different; he was diagnosed with Aspergers. The fact that the main character, the dragon, was different from the other dragons made my son feel better about himself and he was able to relate. I would definately recommend this book to anyone who wants to help their child feel better about themselves and the fact it is ok to be different.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 9, 2014

    Crispin is turning seven and should be able to breath fire, but

    Crispin is turning seven and should be able to breath fire, but when he opens his mouth, fire doesn't come out. Something else does! Crispin manages to breathe out whipped cream, party streamers, bubbles, and beach balls, but never fire. He makes an unlikely friend in a quivering young knight and together they realize that being different isn't always a bad thing.

    With engaging illustrations and a humorous storyline, Not Your Typical Dragon delivers a timeless message of individuality and self-worth that kids will love.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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